PrimalHyal™ 50 Life: A Virtuous Revolution for Hyaluronic Acid

Interview with Mathias Fleury
Head of Category –Actives, Givaudan Active Beauty

Hyaluronic acid is a must-have skincare product for today's consumers. Why did you decide to try to improve it?

Hyaluronic acid is a beauty blockbuster world-renowned for its ability to moisturise, hydrate and nourish our skin, and rightly so. Consumers of all ages and genders are demanding more and more products that harness the powerhouse moisturising properties of hyaluronic acid. However, efficacy on its own is not enough. These same consumers are also scrutinising cosmetic products and ingredients to ensure they are created sustainably and with respect for nature.

Givaudan Active Beauty has been committed to creating effective and environmentally friendly cosmetic ingredients since our early beginnings. Now, for the first time in the beauty industry, we have achieved a ground-breaking leap in the sustainability of hyaluronic acid production with the creation of PrimalHyal™ 50 Life: the most sustainable hyaluronic acid in our portfolio.

How did you approach this challenge?

Our White Biotechnology Centre of Excellence in France's Champagne region has specialised in hyaluronic acid research and development since the early 1990s. Since strengthening our expertise in sustainable disruptive biotechnology processes with the acquisition of the French company Alderys in 2020, Givaudan Active Beauty has continued to expand our capabilities in innovative bio-engineering technologies. Drawing on their scientific know-how and long-standing experience, our experts have been investigating ways to redesign low molecular weight hyaluronic acid to elevate and transform this iconic molecule in line with our vision for a science-led, nature-conscious future. It took almost eight years of research, but we can now finally unveil our transformational sustainability breakthrough in hyaluronic acid production: PrimalHyal™ 50 Life.

What is white biotechnology, and how was it used to create PrimalHyal™ 50 Life?

White biotechnology is a method which involves the bio-fermentation of microorganisms to craft active cosmetic ingredients using local carbon sources, such as sugar from wheat or sugar beet. To create PrimalHyal™ 50 Life specifically, Givaudan Active Beauty leveraged strain engineering and precision fermentation. By directly obtaining the molecular weight of interest during the fermentation stage (instead of producing a high molecular weight which then needs to be hydrolysed), our scientists completely reinvented the production method for hyaluronic acid. This boosted the sustainability credentials of the active molecule in PrimalHyal™ 50 Life, revolutionising hyaluronic acid production, reducing our global footprint and achieving a crucial breakthrough for the beauty industry in the process!

How did you measure the sustainability benefits?

We assessed the benefits of our environmentally friendly production processes across various sustainability parameters via an independent 2023 study of the life cycle of PrimalHyal™ 50 Life that used the principles of the ISO 14040 and 14044 (Environmental management and life cycle assessment) standards and the Environmental Footprint calculation.

Across the life cycle of the active ingredient, this independent study revealed a massive -92% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and an impressive -91% reduction in overall environmental impact. But that's not all. The same tests showed that PrimalHyal™ 50 Life and its production process also resulted in a -95% reduction in acidification and eutrophication of water, a -90% reduction in non-renewable energy usage and a -75% reduction in water consumption, compared to other forms of hyaluronic acid.

What about the efficacy of this more sustainable hyaluronic acid: How did you evaluate that?

Of course, PrimalHyal™ 50 Life needs to be effective, not simply environmentally friendly. However, as revealed by our clinical trial and noted by our volunteers, the active ingredient bestows a wide range of potent skincare benefits, including improvements in skin texture, firmness, and hydration.

Further biological evaluations revealed the product achieves deep skin penetration, reinforces the skin barrier function and boosts skin hydration for up to 72 hours post-application, which are incredible achievements for a hyaluronic acid designed to meet – if not exceed – our ambitious sustainability goals.

What's next?

Thanks to PrimalHyal™ 50 Life, consumers are no longer forced to choose between efficiency and sustainability when selecting their skincare products. By elevating hyaluronic acid using ecological processes, we have created an active cosmetic ingredient that is science-led and nature-conscious! It will form the cornerstone of the sustainable development of the hyaluronic acid molecule in the years to come, and of many other iconic beauty molecules.


To find out more about PrimalHyal™ 50 Life, visit

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